Phelps says he won’t apply for secretary of state’s job

Bartholomew County Clerk Jay Phelps looks over paperwork before poll worker training at Donner Center a week before the general election in Columbus, Ind., Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Bartholomew County Clerk Jay Phelps congratulated Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson on her “honorable service” after she announced her resignation on Monday but said he is not seeking to be her successor.

Lawson announced Monday that she is resigning with nearly two years left in her term as secretary of state, The Associated Press reported.

The 71-year-old Republican didn’t give a specific reason, saying in a statement that 2020 took a toll on her and that she was stepping down to “focus on my health and my family.”

“Like many Hoosiers, 2020 took a toll on me,” Lawson said. “I have dedicated the last 32 years of my life to public service. I have served with all of my heart and soul. It has been an honor to serve, but it is time for me to step down.”

Phelps, who also serves as president of the Indiana Clerks Association, said he worked with Lawson “countless times to get meaningful election reform passed through the Indiana General Assembly” and is looking forward to working with whoever Holcomb selects as Lawson’s replacement.

“I am humbled by the number of phone calls and text messages I have received upon Secretary Lawson’s resignation this morning, asking me to place my name into consideration to be Indiana’s next Secretary of State,” Phelps said. “While I appreciate the support and the kind words I have received, I will not be submitting an application to Governor Holcomb for this role. I trust the governor will pick a top-notch Secretary of State, who will raise the bar and continue to put Indiana on the map for election administration and voting security.”

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.